By Bill Maher
Someone once said the worst thing that can happen to a politician is to get involved in a scandal people can understand. Luckily for them, we’re getting stupider and our scandals are getting more and more complex. Take Walmart, and how you might think it should pay taxes, but you’d be wrong.
Walmart is America’s largest company, and it seems to have $205 billion in assets, and it seems to have its headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas, but $76 billion (or 37 percent) of its assets appear to have migrated to 22 shell companies in Luxembourg. You know how sometimes you use another bank’s ATM, because yours is too far away? It’s like that.
Ninety percent of the assets of Walmart’s International Division end up in Luxembourg and the Netherlands, rather than, as you might assume, Bentonville, Arkansas. Walmart has 4000 stores in America. It has zero stores in Luxembourg.
All of this is according to a recent report by Americans for Tax Fairness, which also points out that Walmart has a “network of 78 subsidiaries and branches in 15 overseas tax havens, which may be used to minimize foreign taxes where it has retail operations and to avoid U.S. tax on those foreign earnings.” This has probably allowed Walmart to avoid about $3.5 billion in taxes in the last six years.
Why isn’t this a bigger issue? I guess Hillary Clinton could mention it, because she hates those corporate fat cats (as of last April), but, unfortunately, she’s also a former member of Walmart’s board of directors.
According to the Washington Examiner, Walmart has also given between one and five million dollars to the Clinton Foundation. (Who keeps exact numbers?) Not that there’s anything wrong with that. They do wonderful work. Maybe we should think of the Clinton Foundation as an alternative to taxes.